Due to the prevalence of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the increase in “breakthrough” positive cases in vaccinated individuals, the NFLPA will recommend that the league test vaccinated players and staff every day when they enter a club facility.
The recommended protocols would exempt vaccinated individuals from some of the stricter protocols for unvaccinated individuals, but doing so would require them to undergo more testing than current regulations require.
Current NFL protocols require daily testing for unvaccinated players, but only require that vaccinated players and staff test every 14 days. In a memo the NFLPA sent to its members on Wednesday, a copy of which was received by ESPN, the players’ union said it recommended the change based on “the current outlook for COVID-19, the Delta variant and the results of the first “week of training camp test analysis.”
The memo states that the NFL and NFLPA have tested 2,528 players and 4,549 employees and had more than 65 positive cases since the training camp began. Of these 65 cases, the memo says, 32 are among vaccinated people. It is also said that there have been two outbreaks within club facilities this year (Atlanta and Miami), while it took until week 3 of last season for the broadcast to take place within a team facility.
“We have consistently stated that football will follow the path of our communities, and several cities and states are seeing record increases in infections and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant,” the memo said. “In our experience from last year, the number of positive tests in the first week of training camp is cause for concern.”
The memo emphasizes that the COVID vaccines work and, according to expert research, are more than 80 percent effective against all variants. However, it is also emphasized that the Delta variant is “NEW and 50% more contagious than the original strain of the coronavirus”.
As a result, the BRL union recommends PCL tests for vaccinated employees and players every day when they enter the team facility, “the aim of which is to quickly identify positive cases and prevent the virus from spreading”.
Under the new protocols proposed by the union, vaccinated players and staff would not have to wait for their test results to return before entering the facility and would not be tested on days off or during the next few weeks. Unvaccinated individuals must test every day and wait for a negative result in their car before entering the building. They are also tested on non-working days and in days off when they are not allowed to travel. Vaccinated players are allowed to travel during the free weeks.
The memo also states that the union will recommend reducing the number of workers allowed in locker rooms and “In the event of an apparent virus spread in a club, masking may be required for all players and staff regardless of vaccination status, similar to the intensive protocols last year and designed to prevent an outbreak. “
Cleveland Browns Center and NFLPA President JC Tretter told ESPN on Tuesday he knew vaccinated players would not like the idea of more frequent testing, but he believes it is the only way to make sure the league and players have enough Have data to find out how the virus spreads and does not spread to team facilities.
“Last year, when we started at training camp and where we ended in week 17, were two completely different places for the logs and it should be the same expectation this year,” said Tretter. “We learn more about Delta every day. Where we start training camp and where we end the season these logs will look very different, it just means we keep following the new data and science we learned to get us in the best position for a season offset.”
The NFLPA has yet to discuss its new recommendations with the NFL.